Astral Encounters
Return to Crosswinds Keep
By Darrin Drader

Heroes of Crosswinds Keep, Part 1

Although the members of the Stalwart Lions have settled into a lifestyle where they are mostly comfortable, they must be ready to defend the keep. They have been called to battle several times since founding this place. Githyanki have attempted invasions, and nefarious visitors have arrived, often with the intent to conquer this place from within. While the guards are useful, they have not proven to be skilled enough to deal with some of the more powerful patrons who have sought out the keep in the past.

Bran Oakenshire

Bran was born and raised in the city of Waterdeep. When he was seventeen, he served aboard a ship that plied the trade ways between the Sword Coast and the Moonshae Isles. At the age of 24, he met the other members of the Stalwart Lions in a tavern near the docks of Waterdeep. Intrigued by the tales of adventure, they made the decision to strike out for Myth Drannor. Though they barely escaped that cursed place intact, they began answering calls for adventurers and were pulled slowly but surely into the roles of protectors in the heartlands of the Realms. Ultimately they journeyed from Faerūn and into the planes to protect the interests of their homeworlds.

Bran is a physically powerful man with graying brown hair and a beard. He normally dresses in a simple workman's outfit, and he bears the scars from numerous battles proudly. When left to choose the topic of conversation, he often fondly recalls the battles that caused his scars. Bran carries a silver sword that he took from the body of a fallen githyanki warrior, which he uses to cut the silver cords of visitors that cause trouble. He has fended off several githyanki who wished to recapture the blade.

Bran doesn't consider himself refined or cultured, and though he makes every effort to be polite to the guests, he doesn't make any attempt to live up to anyone else's expectations. He is quiet and sometimes withdrawn, and he instead chooses to observe potentially troubling situations before acting on them.

Bran Oakenshire: Male human Ftr14; CR 14; Medium humanoid; HD 14d10+42; hp 119; Init +2; Spd 20 ft.; AC 23, touch 12, flat-footed 21; Base Atk +14; Grp +19; Atk +22 melee (1d10+10/19-20, +3 bastard sword) or +20 melee (2d6+8/17-20, +1 silver greatsword) or +17 ranged (1d8+5/x3, +1 composite longbow [+4 Str bonus]); Full Atk +22/+17/+12 melee (1d10+10/19-20, +3 bastard sword) or +20/+15/+10 melee (2d6+8/17-20, +1 silver greatsword) or +17/+12/+7 ranged (1d8+5/x3, +1 composite longbow [+4 Str bonus]); AL CG; SV Fort +12, Ref +6, Will +5; Str 21, Dex 15, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 13. Height 6 ft., 2 in., weight 175 lb.

Skills and Feats: Climb +13, Jump +12, Listen +3, Search +5, Spot +8, Swim +9; Alertness, Blind-Fight, Cleave, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword), Far Shot, Great Cleave, Improved Critical (greatsword), Point Blank Shot, Power Attack, Quick Draw , Rapid Shot, Track.

Possessions: +3 breastplate, arrows (20), +3 bastard sword, +5 silver greatsword, +1 [+4 Str bonus] composite longbow, amulet of natural armor +3, potions of cure serious wounds (5), potion of gaseous form, potion of neutralize poison, potion of protection from elements (electricity), potion of protection from elements (fire), explorer's outfit.

Silvered Greatsword: A silvered greatsword has the additional quality of reaching into the minds of the foes it strikes, which disrupts their psionic powers. A target hit by the weapon must succeed on a DC 17 Fortitude save or lose any psionic abilities for 1d4 rounds.

Moala Addrell

Moala Addrell is fire-haired elf with a lithe build and a pale complexion. She normally pulls her long hair back, which accentuates her high cheekbones and pointed ears.

Moala is devoted to the goddess Chauntea. She is the spiritual center for the entire keep and she believes it a blessing from her deity every time she is forced to go into battle to protect herself, her faith, and her friends. For many years after joining the Stalwart Lions, she held a strong unrequited love for Bran Oakenshire, though she never acted upon it, knowing that love between a human and elf will always end in tragedy. To her surprise, Bran confessed his love for her, believing it to be in vain and offered to leave the group since he didn't think she would ever return his love. Instead of allowing him to go, she confessed her feelings for him. A short time later Chauntea appeared to her, instructing her to take up residence on the Astral Plane to create a safe haven for those who travel through this plane. Neither Moala or Bran would grow old and die before the other as long as they remain here.

Moala followed her deity's instructions and visited her elven homeland one last time, and then left Faerūn to embark upon the struggles they would face here. It was Moala's vision and leadership that led the party to this place, and it was her determination that helped them overcome the struggles they faced while building the keep. Although all decisions concerning the welfare of the keep are made jointly by all four members of the party, Moala's wisdom is respected and the others have learned that its usually best to follow her advice.

Moala Addrell: Female elf cleric 15 of Chauntea; CR 15; Medium humanoid; HD 15d8+45; hp 112; Init +1; Spd 20 ft.; Base Atk +11; Grp +13; AC 25, touch 11, flat-footed 24; Atk +17 melee (1d8+6, +4 heavy mace); Full Atk +17/+12/+7 melee (1d8+6, +4 heavy mace); SA turn undead 5/day; SQ elf traits, low-light vision; AL CG; SV Fort +12, Ref +6, Will +13; Str 14, Dex 12, Con 17, Int 14, Wis 18, Cha 15. Height 5 ft., 10 in., weight 135 lb.

Skills and Feats: Concentration +19, Diplomacy +12, Heal +20, Knowledge (arcana) +10, Knowledge (religion) +14, Listen +6, Search +4, Spellcraft +14, Spot +6; Blind-Fight, Brew Potion, Cleave, Great Cleave, Power Attack, Scribe Scroll.

Elf Traits: Moala is immune to magic sleep spells and effects, and has Martial Weapon Proficiency in longsword, rapier, longbow (including composite longbow), and shortbow (including composite shortbow) as bonus feats. She has a +2 racial bonus on saves against enchantment spells or effects. Moala is entitled to a Search check when within 5 feet of a secret or concealed door as though actively looking for it. She also has a +2 racial bonus on Listen, Spot, and Search checks (already figured into the statistics given above).

Cleric Spells Prepared (6/7/7/7/6/5/4/3/2; save DC 14 + spell level): 0 -- create water, detect magic, light, mending, read magic (2); 1st -- bless, command, detect evil, doom, magic weapon, protection from law, sanctuary*; 2nd -- aid*, calm emotions, darkness, hold person, shatter, silence, zone of truth; 3rd -- blindness/deafness, daylight, deeper darkness, invisibility purge, magic circle against law, prayer, protection from energy; 4th -- death ward, divine power, greater magic weapon, neutralize poison, restoration, spell immunity*; 5th -- dispel evil*, flame strike, plane shift, raise dead, spell resistance; 6th -- animate objects, antimagic field*, harm, word of recall; 7th -- greater restoration, repulsion*, resurrection; 8th -- greater planar ally, mind blank*.

*Domain spell. Deity: None. Domains: Good (cast good spells at +1 caster level), Protection (protective ward 1/day).

Possessions: +4 scale mail, +4 heavy steel shield, +4 heavy mace, potions of cure serious wounds (3), 3 flasks of holy water, cleric's vestments.

Bringing the Parts Together

Bran and Moala often mingle amongst the guests and the guards of Crosswinds Keep. Moala is often the party member who acts as the diplomat to greet important visitors. Should trouble follow the PCs to the keep, Moala and Bran will help defend their guests, though they often insist that all problems between their visitors remain outside the keep if it is at all possible.

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